Thursday, April 19, 2012

Looking for a job and being broke. Tips and...stuff.

Lately, I have been scouring the earth for a flipping job....or that's how it feels to me, anyway.  In reality, I have been applying online and in person for job opportunities for a REALLY long time, now.  I do not even remember when I first started looking for a new job.  Anyyyyyyway, it can be extremely frustrating and depressing trying to find a new job. 

 There are times I cry in the corner and find I am pulling out all of my hair.  Most of the time, I just settle on eating my feelings....again in a corner (There's less balding that way). However, I feel I have come up with a few things that may (or may not) help you all out there in trying to find a job. 

Now, in my case I currently have a job...just one that gives me literally 4-8 hours every week. I am looking for a job to be a second job, or to replace my current one.

Tip Number One: Know what you are willing and not willing to do, as well as know what your work availability is.
You cannot usually afford to be picky when it comes to finding a job.  However, if there are limitations to what you can do physically, mentally, or experience-wise, you should probably be aware of all of that.  For example, I will not work a job that is manual labor.  I have a bad back and bad knees, and basically the body of an 80 year old.  BUT, if it paid a lot, I would re-consider.  Hell, with more money I could afford a chiropractor. In my job quest, I have found that if you are picky about which jobs you apply for, you have even less of chance to actually obtain a job.  Common sense, peeps.

Tip Number One And A Half: Know your work availability.
Most jobs are looking for as open availability as possible.  I know now when I apply online for any kind of job, no matter the field, there is always a section with the days of the week and times of each day you can or cannot work.  If you have a current job, like I do, I usually just put a general idea of my availability.  For instance 7am-7pm or 10am-10pm every day of the week.  It is not what you are 'promising' your potential employer, but just a general idea of what days/times you can and cannot work.  If you happen to get a phone call or interview, you can always negotiate your availability.  Mainly, just try to be as open as possible when it comes to availability. Whoo, that was a long rant.

Tip Number Two: Have a current and up to date resume and cover letter.
It does not matter if you are applying to clean poop from the elephant enclosures at a circus, HAVE. A. RESUME. It looks like you are an able-bodied and willing, professional person.  Now, of course you can get a job with out a resume and cover letter, in fact some places do not require one.  However, required or not, I always try to include one if I can.  It just looks better, basically.  Now, I am not going to post my resume since it has all my info on it and I do not need any more creepers in my life, but this is a general idea of what a resume should include
Now, this is just an example resume I found online, but it looks very similar to my own.  There are all different kinds of formats, fonts, spacing, and so on you could use but just try to make it as simple and straight forward as possible.  You always want references and multiple ways to contact you.  Also, you should tweaky-tweak your resume to fit the particular job you are applying for, including the position you want and the company's name at the top.  However, I have a general copy of my resume that I leave blank where I have 'position desired'.  This way, I can hand out the resume to anyone and they can immediately see my skills, education, work experience, and so on.  
*You do not necessarily HAVE to fill out an application.  If someone has your resume and really wants you to work for them, they'll usually call and ask you to fill out an application before they interview you.

As for a cover letter...
Mine is only about a paragraph long and it nearly summarizes my resume.  The cover letter is a brief introduction of yourself, why you want to work for the potential employer, and your assets to the potential job. I always include my email and best time to call me, as well as a 'looking forward to hearing from you!' at the end. Suck up to your potential employer. They like that.

Tip Number Three: What to ask for as compensation.

Now, this can vary by your experience in the field you are applying for, how much education you have, and what the company or place that could be hiring you--what they are willing to pay you.  Most of the time the wages go by the hour and I usually ask for 8-9 bucks an hour...which is depressing.  However, I have always made 8 dollars and change an hour at any job I have had, AND I have an associate degree.  If you have an associate degree, you can ask for more than minimum wage on a job application. NOW, this does not mean that your potential employer has to pay you that amount.  If I can, I always put on my applications that I would prefer 8-9 dollars an hour, but I am negotiable.  This way, your potential employer does not feel as though you are set in your ways about your hourly wage.
*I also check off BOTH full time AND part time, even if I am looking for mainly full time.  This is because every place has a different measurement for each.  Once place may consider 30-35 hours a week part time, and another may consider that full time.

Tip Number Four: Don't limit yourself to applying to jobs that have the 'now hiring' sign in their window or online. I can tell you from experience, especially with online applications, a job does not have to be 'now hiring' in order to hire you.  Sometimes they do not advertise that they are, indeed, hiring.  Other times, people quit at a job and they need to hire someone immediately to fill that position.  Most of the time, jobs will hire you if they see you are professional, have a resume/cover letter, and are highly or at least minimally qualified. Knowing someone in the higher-ups always helps, but how many of us have that advantage? I mean come on.  My advice is to apply for as many jobs as possible in as many locations as possible.  Which leads me to tip number five.

Tip Number Five: Be willing to travel.
I am not saying leave the state or anything, lord knows I wish I could leave New Jersey.  Rather, be willing to drive a bit of a distance for a job.  Gas prices suck, so this is the one area I do not like when I apply for jobs, but I figure if a job is going to give me loads of hours, I can afford to travel a little bit.  If you do not want to waste gas, you can usually take a bus or train-- that usually can be cheaper than all that gas money.  For me, I am willing to travel 30 minutes to 45 minutes away for a job.  I live in a small cute-little-duckling-small, so I know for any kind of real job opportunities I need to be willing to travel a bit.

Tip Number Six: Try not to freak out. Emotional eating, stressing out, and/or staying in your PJ's all day, is not going to help you find a job, yo! I find that if I allow myself an hour to cry, scream, eat nom-nommy cheese fries, and freak the hell out, saying,"What is my LYYFFFEEE!?" .....Then move on, I feel better.  Of course no one is perfect and everyone has their moments of feeling hopeless, but buck up buttercup-cupcake, something is bound to happen. If you are motivated and determined to find a job, you will sooner or later....most likely later in my case.  Just try to stay positive and surround yourself with people who are going to help you, not tear you down and make you feel like a bum....which is what you will eventually become if you don't find a job. 
*Also, FOLLOW UP on your applications and resumes/cover letters turned in.  Just because they don't call you back, doesn't mean you can't call them!

 Here are some websites I use to look for jobs:
In addition to online job search engines, I apply to particular businesses and companies I know of in my area, and get the local news paper for job listings.

Now on to things I have learned, while being a 4 hour a week, 30$ a week pay-check kind of person. I so wish I was over exaggerating.

Make your money last and save as much as possible. I am a coupon-clipper-sale-clearance-buying-etc kind of person.  I do not usually buy things I do not need and I try to keep my monthly bills as low as possible. Hard, but semi-possible.  When I DO need to buy something, I either have a coupon or it is on sale/clearance. It's just how I roll.  I have a few bucks saved that I call my 'oh shit fund' of money, just a couple hundred dollars. This way if anything (like this week) happens with my car or some other kind of emergency, I won't go into bankruptcy. 
Also, I am never this happy when I am food one is. Lies.

I am a college student, trying to get into shape and eat healthy. Fuck that. If you are broke, you may as well not even try to be a health fin-antic. No gym memberships, no healthy food, nothing organic, nada.  Eating and being a healthy person is damn expensive! That being said, I do TRY to eat healthy when I can/can afford it.  Sometimes if I find myself at a fast food restaurant, there are usually more healthy options for just as much or less money as that....nom-nommy big mac and large fries.  Also, you don't need a gym membership or have to buy the 'Brazillian Butt Lift' (for five low payments of YOUR SOUL a month) to stay in shape.  Go for a walk or a run. It's free.

Biiiiiiig thing: Budget yourself 
Hard, again, this is hard, I know...but necessary. Oh so flipping annoying and necessary.  For me, 30$ a week does not go very far at all.  It hardly covers my gas for the week.  However, like I said before, I do have money saved in the bank for other bills, food, even more gas, gas, gas, and have I mentioned gas? I would say, try not to spend more in a week than what your paycheck for that week will be, but yeah, that does not apply to me. What I usually do is, again, try not to buy things and save, use coupons and sales, but I also will only spend in small spurts of money.

For example, let's say my car insurance and phone bill are due this month (like they are every month). I also need about 30$ for gas to get to school and work(weekly), and about 20$ for food and other necessities(weekly).  I will use the money I have saved for my car insurance ($95), my phone bill (25$), and use half of my money saved for gas and other necessities. I'm pretty sure none of what I just wrote makes sense to anyone but myself, but it's what I do and it seems to work.

Don't stress about money. Staying up and getting no sleep because your anxious about being broke is only going to make matters worse.  No sleep=badness.  It will make you more anxious, more depressed, more stressed out, and you may even get sick more often.  Who needs more of that? Not I, not....I.
 It is very hard, but try to ignore the fact that you are completely  no-bucket-to-piss-in-broke, and stay positive.  When you really think about it, what is money, really? I mean, it's pieces of green paper and metal/copper/whatevs, that people start wars and fight over.  Of course money is what makes the world go around, but it isn't everything.  

It's possible to be stressed out, money-less or broke, and be in the mean time, while searching for jobs, try and remember that.  Life doesn't have to be about how much money you have in the bank, but it should be about the people you love.

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